The SUNY Global Workforce Project, a website designed to aid faculty in internationalizing their courses to prepare students for the global workforce, was officially released by the SUNY Levin Institute.
The Project began to take shape in August 2009 when the U.S. Department of Education granted it funding after an application process. The Levin Institute met with SUNY faculty to find schools that would be interested in joining the project. College at Brockport and SUNY Cortland volunteered and their faculty began work with the Institute.
Members from the universities and the Levin Institute were combined into teams to develop 10 six-hour modules designed to build international knowledge and develop the skills required for today’s global economy. The courses developed are available to any institution that wants to use them, but are designed for SUNY’s use.
The 10 modules were developed over the course of a year for faculty to incorporate into their courses include trade, culture and human rights, global banking and demographics, among others.
Rebecca Smolar, project manager of SUNY Global, said the 10 modules were specifically chosen because they represent key economic, social and political issues that can be integrated into a wide range of courses.
Specialists provided the pilot faculty with resources to create an interdisciplinary experience for their 1,800 students in general education courses during a development workshop.
“The pilot faculty then took the modules and adapted them to their courses and created new assignments that were based on the original material, but that also addressed their own course goals,” Binghamton alumna Smolar, class of ‘98, wrote. “The freedom for faculty to adapt the modules created stronger materials that would ultimately help students gain an interdisciplinary, international perspective.”
Smolar said students grew more interested in international studies collectively and reaped more tangible benefits.
“Students felt that they gained critical thinking skills, improved writing skills, time management skills, the ability to communicate with people who are different from them and an appreciation for how international issues affect them personally,” Smolar wrote. “Many students felt that they were better prepared for the workforce because they have new knowledge of international issues as well as the ability to communicate with people of diverse backgrounds.”
Katharine Krebs, vice provost for international affairs and director of international education, said Binghamton has been looking into the project.
“We have been following the progress of this project with interest for some time,” Krebs wrote in an email. “This will be a good resource for our faculty, not only in the exact topics named, but in related fields. I expect that we’ll see faculty turning to these sources themselves or using them as a resource for their students to explore.”
Ashley Ragusa, a senior majoring in psychology, expressed interest in the project and said it was a well-developed opportunity that could increase the quality of the University.
“I think the SUNY Global Workforce Project would be a good idea so that students can be aware of global issues and have a global perspective on the content already being taught within their classrooms,” Ragusa said.